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Theodici of Evil

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Introduction

Which of the Theodicies Used to Justify Belief in an Almighty Loving God is the Most Convincing? Throughout history, religions have swept through the hearts of men, conquering doubts and strengthening faith. But there is one barrier which has never been overcome. Overlooked in times of peace, maybe, but firm and resolute during strife. Evil. How can an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God allow Evil to exist? He knows evil exists, he can destroy evil and he wants to destroy evil. But he doesn't. You do not need to look far to find it. Not that attempts haven't been made. Far from it. There are hundreds of theodicies, form every religion and every era. Many sound convincing but under pressure, with news of children and innocent families being gunned down because of their nationality, or being drowned by rising waters, it takes a heart of stone not to doubt. Probably the earliest theodicy still used today is that offered by Hinduism. At first it seems no different from the early Christian beliefs, that all pain and suffering are the results of past sins. ...read more.

Middle

Saint Irenaeus was born in the early 3rd century in Asia Minor. He was born into a Christian family, surprising as Christians were still prosecuted for another 50 years. He became the 2nd Bishop of Lyon in his later life, by then well known for his book, of which only one copy remains, a Latin translation. He believed that Mankind had been created immature and needed to overcome evil and brave suffering before it can be pure and be, in every sense of the word, good. He said that Adam and Eve's argument with God had been not a fully fledged rebellion, but instead a childish tantrum, portraying man's desire to have everything, now. He believed that God is keeping Eden safe and untainted, waiting for when man grows up. He likened death and suffering to the whale which ate Jonah: it was only in the depths of the whale's stomach that he could turn to God. Saint Augustine was born in a Roman city in northern Africa, son of Saint Monica. ...read more.

Conclusion

This believes that God created man with the potential in him for both good and evil and the ability to choose, for obedience and goodness is pointless if it is forced and there is no alternative. God then set limits on his own powers, so that he could not interfere with man's thoughts and actions. My eyes have been opened to many theodicies which have shaken me out of my blissful ignorance on this subject. Many are shaky at best, with glaring holes in their arguments. The Hindu argument seems plausible, but I cannot reconcile a completely unmerciful life with the idea of a loving God. Irenaeus seems way ahead of his time and in another life would have been a boarding school headmaster, perhaps little more than two centuries ago. Barth is persuasive, but he is very pessimistic, saying that evil is inevitable and we will suffer, but that we must hope that we won't... I think that the Free Will theodicy gives the clearest explanation to the Problem of Evil. God gave us the choice to do good or evil, gave us the safekeeping of the earth and we must seek to eradicate evil ourselves. ...read more.

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